Frog and Snail

Dear Liza,

The new place….

Auntie Bridgett and I walked over to a new restaurant the other day. Frog and Snail has replaced the small, comfy Chez Machin, and we wanted to give the new place a try.

Diffused sunlight makes everything pretty!

It’s just a half mile walk down to Hawthorne, enough to work up an appetite. The new owners have lightened up the interior space and spaced the tables appropriate for Covid-19, but we wanted to enjoy their back patio, because, as Dr. Fauci says, “outside is better than inside.” The nice masked waitress led us through the restaurant, down a hallway and up a few stairs, and there we were.

I don’t know if it counts as “outside”, because it has walls and a roof, but the wide back door was open and only two of the six tables were occupied, so we felt comfortably spaced. I waited until everyone else had left before taking pictures because people get self-conscious around cameras.

The space was light and airy, with a corrugated plastic roof overlaid with garden style lattice and sun sails, which gave it a whimsical feel. There were posters from Le Cirque d’Hiver in Paris, photos of the City of Light, and a rustic mural in the concrete wall.

Like many other restaurants, Frog and Snail has its menu online, and you scan it with your phone. This prevents passing germs around with laminated menus, or throwing out hundreds of pieces of paper a day.

We chose Quiche Lorraines for lunch and the Classic Crepe (Nutella, banana, and toasted fresh graham crackers) for dessert. The quiche was deep and creamy, and full of onions and bacon, with a crisp crust. The crepe was sweet and soft and rich, and we were glad we had decided to share it! It would have been too much food for one person to finish.


We enjoyed sitting in the lovely space and looking at the poster of the Cirque d’Hiver, and realizing we had walked past that very building on our last visit to Paris in January 2014. We stared at the photo of the Eiffel Tower, figuring out where it was taken from. This brought all our memories of Paris forward, and we both got that glazed-eyed look of being far away, walking down chilly Parisian streets and stopping in at tiny places for chocolate chaud. Sigh.

Okay, if that’s the Conciergerie, then we must be….

Eventually, we had to get a move on and do some mailing at the postals, then take the long way home to walk off some of that cream and chocolate.

The rest of the day was lazy and sleepy, full of quiche and memories of France.


Grandma Judy

Sunny Walk, New Things

Dear Liza,

We had some errands to do yesterday, so Auntie Bridgett and I went for a nice long walk. And since all the places we needed to go were down on Hawthorne, we saw how that street is changing during the lockdown.

One of our gnomes, lurking in the ferns….

We saw that Chez Machin, a lovely French bistro type place, has changed its name to Frog and Snail. I am hoping it is just a name change and the owners are the same. They are nice folks, and too many people are losing their livelihoods because of the shutdown. We will have a taste of their frogs and snails when the city opens up more.

Chez Machin is now Frog and Snail

We still found a lot of businesses closed, but the art and messaging is beautiful and hopeful. I took pictures as a way of holding tight onto goodness and love.

I have been so dismayed these last few days at the level of anger and violence that has swept over Portland and the rest of the country that I sometimes just want to curl up and sleep until all the hatred has passed.

But love, beauty and just plain human goodness are making themselves heard, too. And that gives me comfort.

Yep, just that.

After dropping off dry cleaning and mailing packages, we stopped at Hawthorne Liquor. Auntie Bridgett is on a mission to find a certain kind of yummy cognac that we had on an Air France flight, years ago. We have yet to find it anywhere in the city. But I did have time to wonder at this improbable bottle of pear brandy!

How did they DO that?

On the way home we stopped at Whole Bowl for lunch, which we ate while sitting on the chairs outside the temporarily closed Common Grounds coffee shop. We stopped at Chase bank to return someone’s lost credit card, and enjoyed some more street art.

Big smiles come from small stickers!

By the time we got home, we had walked nearly three miles! I felt pretty accomplished, after these long months of too much sofa-sitting. Maybe we can put ourselves out of this hole, after all.


Grandma Judy